The Oxigen Proteas have set their focus on the three-match KFC T20 International series against Australia starting in Durban on Friday, despite the looming ICC World T20 competition, which is inevitably what all the teams are working towards. Proteas bowler, Kyle Abbott, says although the T20 event is at the back of their minds, their immediate goal starts at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead on Friday evening with the first T20I against Australia.

“We only got together this morning to have a chat and to be quite honest we haven’t looked too much at the World Cup,” Abbott said at the Proteas’ practice at Kingsmead on Wednesday. “ We’ve placed a lot of emphasis on this series, it is another series to win. Yes it is good preparation (for the World Cup), but we have to take it as seriously as we would any other series. When we get to India we have a week before our first match so we will start focusing on the tournament there.”

Abbott says it’s a ‘massive’ boost having Dale Steyn back into the attack, but also commended the impressive performances from the bowling unit in Steyn’s absence. Abbott, particularly in the T20 series win over England, led by example with accurate death bowling spells, a challenge and responsibility he has embraced in a format where the batsmen continue to push new boundaries.

“I always feel like a bowler that needs to bowl a lot and get into a rhythm, especially in a series,” he explained. “It’s tough to come in and play one game or two games here and there, so to get an extended run has built my confidence. I’m learning every game, and as a unit I think we have bowled incredibly well through Bangladesh, India and in the series against England, we are always learning. To be there at the front of it all is nerve-wrecking at times but also very satisfying, especially when you come out on top defending at the end or striking upfront.”

Much of the recent death-bowling success has been attributed to the tireless work the bowlers have put in with bowling coach, Charl Langeveldt, along with the understanding of roles and responsibilities during certain situations of the game.

“He has been very good for us, especially at the death,” he said of Langeveldt. “We have placed a lot of emphasis on the death bowling, even when we are bowling first to stop momentum at the backend of an innings, and closing out when defending, it’s a massive part of the game. We’ve got guys here that have been around; Imran (Tahir) is one of the leading T20 bowlers in the world, Morris and Wiese have played a lot of IPL and T20 cricket matches, we are identifying our roles and what each player needs to do at certain situations of the game and that has worked for us over the last 10 games.”